This $4 smartphone seems too good to be true

Just when we thought smartphones couldn’t get any cheaper, one India company is rolling out an Android device that costs just a few bucks. The Freedom 251 will start shipping in India later this month for just 251 rupees, which converts to a little under $4.

The device originally caused quite a stir when it was first announced by Ringing Bells, prompting a government investigation into how it could pull off that low price. The phone won’t be subsidized by carriers either, and the company is actually losing 151 rupees (about $2) for each handset it sells.

“We will have a loss, but I am happy that the dream of connecting rural and poor Indians as part of the ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives has been fulfilled with Freedom 251,” CEO Mohit Goel told The Indian Express.

The Freedom 251 packs a 4-inch display, an 1800mAh battery, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 3.2-megapixel front-facing shooter, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. It also offers 3G service with dual SIM card slots and runs Android 5.1 with a custom UI that looks a lot like Apple’s iOS.

70 million people have apparently already registered to order the Freedom 251, which launches on June 30 in India. The company expects to ship 2.5 million units this month followed by about 200,000 devices each following month. It could take a while before Ringing Bells is able to meet initial demand or even think about expanding beyond the country.

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